Factors related to patients' satisfaction with their medical care.
Patient satisfaction has become a frequently researched outcome measure of the quality of health-care delivery. This article reviews research of patient satisfaction after recent, identifiable medical care visits. Results of the reviewed studies are grouped into 13 factors of the medical care setting and of the physicians' competence and relationships to their patients which may be related to patient satisfaction. The factors with the clearest relationship to satisfaction include the accessibility of medical care, the organizational structure of clinics, treatment length, perceived competence of physicians, clarity and retention of physicians' communication to patients, physicians' affiliative behavior, physicians' control, and patients' expectations. Other factors with more complicated or no apparent relationship to satisfaction were mode of payment, clarity of patients' communication to physicians, physicians' personality, patients' sociodemographic characteristics, and patients' health status. The additive and potential interactive effects of these factors are discussed. Additional studies of the interactive aspects of the physician-patient relationship are encouraged, and implications for further research are presented, with emphasis on sampling, measurement, and design issues.
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